Wednesday, August 31, 2011

High School Reunions

Amber and I both graduated from high school - different high schools in different states, of course - in 2000. Since then, both of our high schools have (sort of) held a "10 year reunion". Even though we would each like to see our friends from high school again, neither Amber nor I attended our respective high school reunions. Why? Well, hmm...let's see if I explain without hurting anyone's feelings or sounding elitist...

Both Amber and I tended to (although not exclusively) hang out with, let's call it the NHS crowd. You know, smart and/or nerdy people. This crowd also happens to consist of the people who are most likely to leave town once they graduate. I don't have the numbers to back this up, but I have to think that "level of education" is well correlated with "likelihood of taking a job in a city far from where they went to high school", since looking for a specialized kind of job will often require packing up and leaving town. And, obviously, "living in a city far from where they went to high school" means "nowhere near as likely to attend your high school reunion". Amber was under the impression that the crowd at her high school reunion would be dominated by your "jock" and "cheerleader" types - you know, popular people - which she (or I) didn't hang out with so much. Amber never even considered going to her reunion, I don't think. (UPDATE: The real reason Amber never considered going to her 10 year reunion is because it took place during last summer's Alaska trip.)

As for my high school reunion...well, the short explanation is that we never really had a 10 year reunion. The long explanation is this: 1) Last year, efforts to organize a 10 year reunion never materialized. 2) Class reunions are traditionally organized by the senior class president, which is a problem when he is an alleged felon. (True story! Let the record show that I voted for somebody else.) 3) Other classmates organized a "one year late 10 year reunion" this past weekend, but despite their best efforts (and I feel really bad for them, I should note), hardly anybody showed up.

Why didn't anybody show up? In the organizers' defense - and I know they put a lot of effort into it, and ultimately lost money - they were pretty much doomed from the start. The most important thing with respect to a high school reunion is to establish a "buzz" and ensure that people will actually show up. Gathering the "buzz" - that is, establishing to everyone that this is really a thing and that "like, everyone is totally going to be there!" - is difficult. And, it's pretty much impossible when you have a "10 year reunion" in year 11, for two reasons. For one, the "buzz" that had been building the previous year for a 10 year reunion had already faded, and people have moved on. But also, reunions need to sound "official" to get that "buzz" (and to get people to come in from out of town), and you can't really do that by having a "10 year reunion" in year 11. What I imagine happened is that most people - including myself - thought, "I don't think this is going to be well-attended, so I'm not going to make the effort to go." Not even the classmates who still live in the Jacksonville area went to the reunion, from the sounds of it. Basically, we missed our chance last year. This reunion had to be held last year for it to have a chance, and our next chance won't be until year 20.

Speaking in general terms, some say that the popularity of social networking makes the idea of high school reunion pointless. I think there's something to that, because I already know what many of my high school friends are up to these days, so there isn't as much incentive to go to a reunion. (Side note: I've connected with many of my high school friends on Facebook, but I feel kind of weird seeking out and "friending" any more high school friends at this point now that it's been 11 years.) People also seem to be moving around the country more than they used to, making a high school reunion far less practical. Will high school reunions soon become a thing of the past, an outdated relic of the 20th century? Maybe...but there's something to be said for seeing these people in person. There is no substitute for that. I've always thought that an official, formal high school reunion would be a fun thing to be a part of.

Either way, I guess we'll revisit this in 2020, hopefully with better results.


Keith said...

I'm not sure how many people out there can say that 11 years after graduation they are still close with 6 people they went to school with. I view game night at Erik's or disc golf with Jerry or mini golf with Chris as lots of little class reunions. 10 years is a little short for a big reunion. I'll probably attend the 20 year though.

Jeff said...

I didn't have a 10-year reunion either. I don't have any reason to think that my class president is a felon (unlike my last two governors).

Spartangoogle said...

There are road-side signs popping up at the Beaches advertising an upcoming Fletcher reunion, but I think violating the sign ordinance is only a misdemeanor, not a felony.

Leah said...

I had no idea this was even happening. Oh well. For what it's worth, I'd enjoy seeing you and catching up. It'd be great to meet your family too!